The Importance of the Mother Tongue: Benefits for Personal, Cultural, and Cognitive Development

The UN established International Mother Language Day on February 21 to recognize and encourage all countries’ linguistic and cultural diversity. A person learns their mother tongue, often referred to as their first language, from their family and community when they are young. Their identity, communication, and cultural history are all built on it.

The mother tongue is significant for a number of reasons. People can express themselves more freely and effectively thanks to it. For their personal development and sense of belonging, it helps children feel connected to their cultural history and identity. Also, it is essential to preserve linguistic and cultural diversity, which is acknowledged as a fundamental human right. We can build a more accepting and tranquil world by championing and supporting linguistic and cultural variety.

In essence, our cognitive, cultural, and personal development depends heavily on the mother tongue, the language we learn as children. In this article, we will explore more benefits of speaking one’s mother tongue. 

Ready? Let’s go!

As a reminder, the mother tongue plays a crucial role in how people think and feel. For a child’s overall development, learning to communicate in their mother tongue is crucial. 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Intellectual Development

Research has indicated that those who are proficient in their mother tongue develop intellectually and cognitively more quickly than those who are not. Also, it has been shown that students who receive their education in their mother tongue outperform those who receive it in a language other than their mother tongue in terms of the percentage of educational attainment.

Let’s consider these sub-benefits in detail:

Better Learning and Academic Performance

Children who are taught in their mother tongue typically perform better in school and attain higher levels of success. They learn more actively, comprehend ideas more clearly, and can use their information more successfully. Youngsters who are taught in a language they do not fully know may have difficulty understanding complicated ideas and may be more prone to leave school.

Knowledge and Awareness of Culture

A person’s mother language is a crucial part of their cultural identity and ancestry. It gives us a sense of belonging to our family, neighborhood, and nation and enables us to comprehend and value our history, customs, and core values. Children are better equipped to comprehend and appreciate their cultural heritage when they are taught in their mother tongue. By giving kids a wider viewpoint and a deeper comprehension of their surroundings, this understanding can improve their intellectual growth.

Cognitive Benefits of Bilingualism

Speaking two languages, especially one’s mother tongue and a second language can boost executive function, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. Moreover, bilingual people frequently exhibit higher respect for and openness to various cultures. The mother tongue lays the groundwork for bilingualism and creates the conditions for enhanced cognitive abilities.

Conclusively, the mother tongue significantly influences intellectual growth. It lays the groundwork for bilingualism, promotes academic performance and learning, and broadens cultural knowledge. We can make learning more inclusive and intellectually interesting for kids all over the world by appreciating and supporting the mother tongue.

Improved Communication and Socialization

We are able to express ourselves more freely and efficiently when we speak our mother tongue. Better sociability and more solid ties to one’s family, friends, and coworkers result from this. Effective communication boosts our self-assurance and reduces our anxiety, which improves our general well-being. These benefits are further explained below:

Confidence and Comfort

Being the language we know best, speaking in our mother tongue is easy and natural. Speaking in our native tongue increases our self-assurance (comfort) and reduces our anxiety, which improves our ability to interact with others and communicate. Without worrying about being misunderstood or misjudged, we can participate in social events, have conversations, and voice our thoughts.

Cross-cultural Communication

Our ability to communicate across cultures can be enhanced by learning more than one language, including both our mother tongue and other languages. We are able to respect and comprehend other cultures more, which promotes inclusive and peaceful socialization. We can interact with people from various origins and engage in multicultural events and activities, which can broaden our perspectives.

Cultural Identity

Our cultural identity is fundamentally based on our mother tongue. It enables us to comprehend and respect our history, customs, and values and connects us to our family, neighborhood, and nation. We have a sense of pride and belonging when we speak our mother tongue, which can improve our socialization and communication with people from similar cultural backgrounds.

Grammar and vocabulary

When we learn our mother tongue, we build a solid vocabulary and grammar base. We are taught the fundamentals of communication, such as sentence structure, tenses, and verb conjugation. We are able to express ourselves more freely and effectively thanks to this understanding. Clear and succinct communication is a skill that is necessary for fostering enduring connections and engaging in social interactions.

Human Rights and Multilingualism

The United Nations acknowledges the value of multilingualism and linguistic diversity as a way to safeguard cultural legacy, advance social integration, and encourage peaceful coexistence. Everyone has the right to speak their mother tongue openly and to receive an education in it.


Our psychological, cultural, and cognitive growth all depends on how well we speak our native language. Language improves our ability to communicate, sharpens our minds, ties us to our cultural history, and is a fundamental human right. We can build a more inclusive and peaceful society by maintaining and supporting linguistic diversity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Difference Between the Mother Tongue and Native Language?

Although the terms “mother tongue” and “native tongue” are frequently used interchangeably, they have a slight distinction.

A person’s mother tongue is the language they acquire from their family and community when they are young. Being the first language a person learns, it’s also frequently the one in which they feel most at ease while speaking and writing. The first language usually referred to as L1, is the mother tongue.

On the other hand, a person’s native tongue is the language that they speak most effortlessly, whether or not it is their first language. It is the language in which an individual is most fluent and is frequently the one they employ for academic or professional purposes. The target language, often known as L2, is also the native tongue.

In conclusion, a person’s mother tongue is the first language they acquire from family and community, but their native tongue is the one they are most skilled in. Although there is considerable overlap between the two terms, it is important to know the distinctions between them because they are not interchangeable.

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